Engineering, Everest and....Squats!

Firstly, tell us a little bit about Jess…

I am an Aerospace Engineer and I work at Boeing in Port Melbourne. I moved here 2 years ago from Brisbane where I’ve spent most of my life. I’ve also lived in the US for a few months, most recently I worked on NASA for 3 months in North California. Last year my partner, Jack and myself trekked to Everest Base Camp.

How long have you been doing Crossfit, and what keeps you coming back?

I started Crossfit when I moved to Melbourne in March 2016 in St Kilda. When I moved to the West in January 2017, I started at Westgate and have never looked back. I love the challenge and constantly varied workouts everyday. It never gets easier!

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You’re very self motivated, what is it that drives you to push yourself?

I’m not sure! I’ve always tried to be the best I can, whether that’s with school or work and it’s no different with Crossfit. I do get bored easily and with the variation in Crossfit, it’s hard to do, so I’m always wanting to try harder and master everything!

You trekked to Mount Everest Base camp last year, how did you prepare for this?

First of all, by freaking out! I have never been on a multiple day hike, let alone almost 2 weeks. I also knew that I needed to be fit to survive the 14 days straight of walking with a pack and minimize my chance of having altitude related issues (even though this is primarily a heredity response). Being able to keep your heart rate down significantly helps your body cope with altitude so if you can maximize your cardio, then you have less issues. So I had to work on my cardio and my leg strength. I spent a lot of time working on my leg strength and my core bracing (as we were going to be walking for a long time with a bag on our back!). I did extra sessions dedicated to this along with WODs 5-6x a week, while keeping up with the Oly classes (always need to work on weaknesses and generally get stronger!) Sometimes I also went running but that didn’t happen very often because if you know me, I don’t like running!

Jess rocking her Westgate top at Mt Everest Base Camp (5530m)

Jess rocking her Westgate top at Mt Everest Base Camp (5530m)

What is next for Jess? More adventures on the horizon?

Not sure yet! I definitely want to do more hikes, maybe not at Himalayan altitude but I want to do Kokoda and Mt Kilimanjaro for sure! But Id also like to have a simple holiday that doesn’t involve walking up mountains too!

If you could give one piece of advice to someone hesitating on taking a first step to trying something new (like trekking Mt Everest!), what would it be?

I like to think that sometimes I’m the kind of person who says ‘why not?’ when asked to do something. The world is a big amazing place and needs to be explored so why not? You only live once! I also like to be prepared for things (and maybe to Jack’s dislike, too prepared!), so that’s how I controlled my nerves. If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. In hindsight, I probably didn’t need to train as much as I did, or pack as many hand warmers! Crossfit is the same, it’s not just about the challenge in the gym, but it generally prepares you for life, so why not be as prepared as you can be so you enjoy as much as you can!

By: Jess Orr (CrossFit Westgate member)